Words by Chris Moss
Italian genre-hoppers leapfrog across Europe to the US and back
With that title beside those two names, I was expecting a couple of Italian crooners on an Irish road trip. What I got was far, far more surprising.
On the opening track, ‘Mad Tom of Bedlam’, Ilaria Graziano sounds like a jazzed-up Cerys Matthews – with a bit of Mo Tucker thrown in for soft measure. But as the album unfolds she reveals a subtly powerful, rich-toned voice with an impressive range. She also plays a mean ukulele. Francesco Forni is an accomplished guitarist, composer and recording artist and, while his voice is very much a support act here, he susurrates a Mexican ballad like a native.
The pair sing in English, Spanish, Italian and French. They do tango, Johnny Cash covers, blues, Neapolitan canzone, folk, alt-country and more. What binds the whole together is an assuredness, a meeting of minds and a sense of joy. You need guts to hop around genres, but a bit of glee helps too. Consequently, each track seems to open naturally onto the next one. Fans of Pink Martini and Camille will love this album. So will fans of Jacques Brel or Nina Simone: From Bedlam to Lenane is not only surprising, but scintillating and stylish.